22nd August 2016 – An Evening to Remember
One of the great delights of attending a Toastmasters meeting is meeting such wonderful, friendly people. This was the first time that I’d visited the Hertfordshire Speakers Club, but being a member elsewhere meant that I knew roughly what to expect. I was certainly not disappointed by the warmth of the welcome. Within minutes I’d been introduced to a number of club members and guests, and even been invited to undertake a meeting role. This is clearly a club that’s eager to help people reach their goals. I was excited even before Davina brought down the gavel to open the meeting.
Jillian was the Toastmaster of the evening, guiding us through the agenda with great style and confidence. She was displaying her own Toastmasters badges with pride as she introduced the various “helpers” that make the meetings run so well. This started with Bob, our grammarian, informing us that the word of the day was LUCUBRATE. I must confess that I thought that was something that people did to rusty door hinges, but Bob’s witty explanation revealed that it meant “to work, write or study laboriously – especially at night by lamplight”. A wonderfully appropriate word for an evening at Toastmasters. Myriam helped keep us all to time and Claire’s diligent work as “ah counter” meant that we were all aware of our distracting filler-words.
The first speaker was Jacob, sharing news with the club about the upcoming membership dues renewals. It was obviously well researched, with Jacob explaining impact of increased membership charges from Toastmasters International plus the huge swing in the UK-US exchange rate. Although Hertfordshire Speakers has managed to maintain its membership fees at the same level of years, the combined impact of these two factors means that the club membership dues needs to increase. As would be expected, such news was followed by a number of questions and helpful suggestions from the audience. The key message was that, even with the dues increase, membership of the club still presents amazing value for being able to learn in such a supportive environment.
Elizabeth was our next speaker, with the intriguing title of “Wet, wild and wonderful!” Elizabeth described her white water rafting experience with such wonderful imagery and enthusiasm that I could imagine myself there. She guided us on her journey through the route, starting with the “morning glory” and on to “the devil’s toilet bowl”. Throughout the speech Elizabeth injected regular humour, and she was clearly flushed with success as she told us of her progress towards “oblivion”. I thought that this was a speaker who has been there, done that and bought the T-shirt. I was right – as Elizabeth concluded with a demonstration of the T-shirt itself.
Dorna then treated us to her ice-breaker speech. I always think it a privilege to hear someone’s ice-breaker speech, the first prepared speech that someone delivers at a club. It’s an important rite of passage where a new club member has an opportunity to introduce themselves and get feedback on the skills that they already have. Dorna’s speech was excellent. She met all the objectives of the speech and I was particularly impressed to see it delivered without notes. I’m sure that Dorna’s skills will really flourish in the club and that everyone is looking forward to her future speeches.